White House would welcome 2020 Oprah challenge

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By Ali Vitali

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Bring it on, the White House said Monday, welcoming a would-be battle against Oprah Winfrey for the presidency in 2020.

"We welcome the challenge, whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One in response to buzz about Winfrey's possible future foray into politics.

It's unclear if President Donald Trump watched Winfrey's powerful remarks at the Golden Globes Sunday night. The speech ignited chatter that Winfrey could throw her hat in the ring for 2020, exciting a Democratic Party that lacks an obvious standard bearer in the wake of Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss.

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Though Winfrey has previously denied that she would run for office, longtime partner Stedman Graham seemed to leave it open as a possibility.

"It's up to the people," Graham told The Los Angeles Times. "She would absolutely do it."

However, a source said Oprah has no intention of running for president in 2020.

"It’s not happening. She has no intention of running," the source said.

Trump himself has praised Winfrey on several occasions, even once floating her as a possible vice presidential pick before his own official entry into politics.

Gidley also pointed to Trump's "record-setting achievements" as president so far, including a "booming" economy and recently passed tax cuts. When asked if Trump was running for a second term, Gidley first joked that reporters should talk to his campaign about that before correcting course to say Trump absolutely would run again.